We live in a world that’s overly dependent on technology. Aside from poor Internet connection and having a slow-responding PC, probably one of the most common and frustrating problems that we in this digital age face is zero battery power. In other words, it’s having mobile devices like cellphones and laptops that you can’t use uninterruptedly simply because their power gets drained ; or you have a charger but there’s no outlet to plug it into; or you can charge your phone but you can neither use it nor leave until it’s done.
It’s this last scenario that poses the biggest challenge. Given the fact people feel ‘disconnected’ from the rest of world without their phones, even if it’s just for a short period, someone has to figure out how to charge phones in a way that will not restrict their use. And this is what wireless charging technology is meant to address.
Although there are existing wireless technologies, there isn’t yet one that can truly claim to be wireless. There’s wireless charging for smartphones, of course. But even if your phone doesn’t need a cable or wire to connect to your charger, it’s your charging pad or mat that needs a wire to be connected to an electrical source. So, it’s kind of wireless, but not quite.
It looks like that’s about to change.
After being secretive to the point of being accused as frauds for making false claims about their technology, uBeam – a wireless charging company — has finally broken its silence.
For those people who are not familiar, uBeam is a startup company founded by Meredith Perry. In a nutshell, uBeam has been saying for years that they are building a device that can wirelessly charge our phones and other electronic devices through the air via ultrasonic waves. Supposedly, theirs is what ‘true’ wireless technology is all about. Their promised technology though had remained just a promise – until a few days ago that is.
At the Upfront Summit in Los Angeles, the public finally got their first glimpse of what uBeam has been up to. In what was supposed to be an ‘off the record’ demonstration, Perry showed off their innovation.
She held an Android phone near a large white device that looked like a speaker, waited a few seconds, then like magic, without visible wires or cables anywhere — a charging battery icon appeared on her phone.
If you want to see the demonstration, check out this video taken and posted by Spencer Rascoff, CEO of the Zillow Group.
While the demo somehow vindicates uBeam after all the bashing they received, it’s clear that they still have a long way to go before the technology can be commercialized. Aside from shrinking their device to a practical size, they also have to address physical issues such as the maximum distance that the charger can cover, the types of devices that will be compatible with it, how many devices it can charge at the same time, and how consistent its charging efficiency will be.
Thinking ahead, let’s hope uBeam manages to iron out all the relevant issues so we can soon look forward to charging technology that’s wireless in the truest sense of the word.